How will nutrition affect an aging population?

The World Health Organization (WHO) Aging Report in 2014 indicated that by 2050 the percentage of peope older than 60 will have increased to 22% from 11% in 2000. While an increased life expectancy is arguably one of mankind’s greatest scientific achievements, for many a gain in years is not necessarily the gain in years of healthy life.

While aging is distinct from disease, it does increase an individual’s vulnerability to infirmity, and therefore also to communicable and non-communicable illnesses. An aging population is associated with an increase in chronic diseases, many of which are affected by a person’s nutritional status.

Decreased income after retirement, lack of mobility and social life, the intake of multiple medications, alcoholism, depressive mood and a loss in appetite are all factors that can lead to a decreased food intake among the elderly, leading in turn to a greater susceptibility to illness and ill health.

Read more about the factors affecting the nutritional status of the elderly, and what steps can be taken in this area in favor of a healthily aging population in:

Biesalski HK, Drewnowski A, Dwyer JT, Strain JJ, Weber P, Eggersdorfer M. Sustainable Nutrition in a Changing World. Springer. 2017:355-370.

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